In line with the 2014 National Curriculum for Computing, our aim is to provide a high-quality computing education which equips children to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. The curriculum will teach children key knowledge about how computers and computer systems work, and how they are designed and programmed. Learners will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of computational systems of all kinds, whether or not they include computers.
By the time they leave St John Fisher, children will have gained key knowledge and skills in the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science (programming and understanding how digital systems work), information technology (using computer systems to store, retrieve and send information) and digital literacy (evaluating digital content and using technology safely and respectfully). The objectives within each strand support the development of learning across the key stages, ensuring a solid grounding for future learning and beyond.
At St John Fisher, computing is taught weekly across all year groups. This ensures children are able to develop depth in their knowledge and skills over the duration of each of their computing topics. Teachers use the ‘BGFL’ scheme of work as a starting point for the planning of their computing lessons, which are often richly linked to engaging contexts in other subjects and topics. We have a class set of iPads and laptops to ensure that all year groups have the opportunity to use a range of devices and programs for many purposes across the wider curriculum, as well as in discrete computing lessons. Employing cross-curricular links motivates pupils and supports them to make connections and remember the steps they have been taught. iMovie has been used across the curriculum to enrich story telling and help sequence historical events. We are currently investing in Virtual Reality headsets and mobile phones to allow subjects to come to life in an engaging and inspiring experience.
The implementation of the curriculum also ensures a balanced coverage of computer science, information technology and digital literacy. The children will have experiences of all three strands in each year group, but the subject knowledge imparted becomes increasingly specific and in depth, with more complex skills being taught, thus ensuring that learning is built upon. For example, children in Key Stage 1 learn what algorithms are, which leads them to the design stage of programming in Key Stage 2, where they design, write and debug programs, explaining the thinking behind their algorithms.
Annually, we participate in ‘Safer Internet Day’ where children take part in a range of activities and discussions as well as a whole school assembly and parent workshops. This reinforces and focuses on the importance of online safety. Children at St John Fisher are also inspired through trips to Birmingham Apple store where they build upon their coding skills and learn about new apps which they can use in lessons or at home. Each child also has a computing activity set on their termly homework grid so they can continue their learning at home. Children also have access to computing books about inspirations figures in the technological world as well as a range of non-fiction technology books.
Our approach to the curriculum results in a fun, engaging, and high-quality computing education. The quality of children’s learning is evident on BGFL, a digital platform where pupils can share and evaluate their own work, as well as that of their peers. Evidence such as this is used to feed into teachers’ future planning, and as a topic-based approach continues to be developed, teachers are able to revisit misconceptions and knowledge gaps in computing when teaching other curriculum areas. This supports varied paces of learning and ensures all pupils make good progress.
Much of the subject-specific knowledge developed in our computing lessons equip pupils with experiences which will benefit them in secondary school, further education and future workplaces. From research methods, use of presentation and creative tools and critical thinking, computing at St John Fisher gives children the building blocks that enable them to pursue a wide range of interests and vocations in the next stage of their lives.